People Trafficking

Home Department written question – answered on 7th November 2001.

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Photo of Gary Streeter Gary Streeter Vice-Chair, Conservative Party

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action the Government are taking to bring to justice people who traffic in human beings; and in what such action they are participating on an EU-wide basis.

Photo of Angela Eagle Angela Eagle Parliamentary Secretary (Home office)

The Government are committed to ensuring that strong measures are in place to penalise people who traffic in human beings. We have signed the trafficking protocol to the United Nations convention on transnational organised crime, which requires the specific criminalisation of trafficking in human beings.

The Government are currently negotiating a framework decision, which is a binding European Union instrument and requires the criminalisation of trafficking in human beings for the purposes of exploiting their labour and services or for sexual exploitation. Under its provisions, the United Kingdom will be required to have implemented the instrument within two years of its adoption.

A decision will be made on how best to implement the UN and EU agreements after the EU framework decision has been adopted. We will also take account of the outcome of the consultation exercise on "Setting the Boundaries", the report of the sex offences review which made recommendations for a new offence of trafficking for sexual exploitation.

Last year we set up Project Reflex, a multi-agency task force chaired by the National Crime Squad, to co-ordinate anti-trafficking operations and develop the intelligence and strategic planning to underpin them. It is now well established and has resulted in some major successes involving partners overseas. The most recent has been Operation Franc in early June, which led to arrests in the United Kingdom, Belgium, France and Germany.

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